Loss Of ’05 Senior Talent Plagues PA Girls Squash

Girls Squash Coach Tom Hodgson is not changing his philosophy. Maintaining his longstanding affirmation, he expects his players to “deserve to win.” He hopes the victories will follow. Captain Ali Zindman ’07, returning at the number one position, should help the team in the win column. But the players will have to overcome the loss of 5 seniors from last season’s squad. Zindman led the team to a 4th place finish at Interschols last year, but she was aided by the strength of the players below her on the ladder – seniors filled spots 2 through 6. This void will be difficult to fill. Captain Zindman, who has continued to improve her play, was recently selected to the Junior National Team for the seventeen and under division. Lydia Smith ’09, a new tallent, will fill Andover’s 2nd position. Though experienced, she will encounter tough high school competition. Pawina Jiramongkolchai ’06 and Diana Willson ’07, the only returning players along with Captain Zindman, will start the season at positions three and four, respectively. Either one could challenge Smith for the number two spot, as all three players are at similar levels. No matter who ends up in the second slot, however, Andover will look for most of its wins elsewhere. Carolyn Brown ’09, another newcomer to the Andover squash program, currently holds the 5th spot. Brown, Jiramongkolchai, and Willson may form an important mid-lineup force in nailing down team victories. Lizzie Chan ’08, Lucretia Witte ’06, and Stephanie Marton ’07, members of last year’s JV1 team, round out the top eight positions. Though relatively inexperienced, they hope to build upon their skills as the season progresses. Hodgson has chosen the eight top players to start the season, but none of these positions are set in stone. The ladder is continuous, allowing players to move back and forth between Varsity and JV1. Hodgson always keeps winning in perspective and values good sportsmanship and fun. He realizes that the team may not gather wins as easily as last year’s group, but that is not to say Andover cannot be competitive. In fact, the team started out the season with a win, defeating Tabor Academy 5-2. Andover also competed in an exhibition round robin tournament hosted by Groton, which gave the players a chance to get some matches under their belts. “We will take [the season] one match at a time,” Hodgson said. He compared the 2006 group to the teams of three and four years ago, which were filled out by young and inexperienced players. The team matured from that stage and placed 4th at Interschols last year. This bodes well for the current squad, and it intends to begin improving its prowess this year.